"Youth in Social Revolution"

Smriti Brichhya

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Eco-Festival II

Date: 22nd May- June 7, 2011
Since 2010, Youth Network for Social and Environmental Development (YONSED) in collaboration with Youth Alliance for Environment (YAE), Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES/TU), Himalayan Alliance for Climate Change (HIMCCA), ADAPT-Nepal, Global Green Mission (GGM) and Climate Change Coalition (3C) is celebrating World biodiversity and World Environment Day together as Eco-festival. The remarkable success of the programs last year has energized and empowered youth to continue the Eco-Festival 2, 2011 to materialize the theme of World Biodiversity Day (“Forest Biodiversity”), World Environment day ("Forests: Nature at your service") and Tree Holiday of Nepal government together.
It is estimated that deforestation and forest degradation account for around 20 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions-one of the major culprit of global warming. Keeping this in mind, United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests” to raise awareness on sustainable development, conservation and management of forests. It also aims to draw the attention of international communities about the causes and consequences of huge continued loss of forest.

Currently, Nepal is experiencing the highest rate of deforestation in the history; more than 1 million hectors forest was destroyed in 2010. Considering the fact, Government of Nepal has declared the year 2011 as Tree Holiday for ample achievement in the forest conservation. If timely action is not taken, these forest resources are going to vanish creating unusual phenomenon in our environment. Government’s single effort is not sufficient to control this and need support from different sectors’ of society. Indeed, an alliance is more felt in the country like Nepal to pressurize the government themselves for adequate policy formation and proper implementation of the existing policies. Hence, Eco-festival aimed to create positive impact for forest sustainability and forest health through knowledge sharing targeting youth to mark the International year of youth 2010/2011 together.

One Day Symposium on “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Board and Nepalese Scenario”.
Date: June 3, 2011
Venue: Rotary Club, Thapathali

BACKGROUND
We had an experience of near about 20 years of UNFCCC. But in academician, have a lacking in the policy and steps towards the adaptation and mitigation in the climate change adopted by UNFCC. Therefore we organized the one day symposium on United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Nepalese Scenario for mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and its policy towards the graduates from the concern subject from Universities.

In view of numerous problems associated with the loss of forest biodiversity, Youth Network for Social and Environmental Development (YONSED), Youth Alliance for Environment (YAE), Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES/TU), Global Green Mission (GGM), Himalayan Alliance for Climate Change (HIMCCA) and Seed Nepal jointly organized “One Day Symposium on “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Nepalese Scenario”, remarking the World Biodiversity Day 2011 with the theme, "Forest Biodiversity” and World Environment Day 2011, with the theme “Forests: Nature at your service".

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM

The major objectives are
Ø To share the UNFCCC policy and its climate change mitigation and adaptation
program/ activities to the youth.
Ø To familiarize the youth in the practices adopted by the UNFCCC board
Ø To explorer the youth role in the climate changes.
Ø To build/strengthen a network among organizations and colleges/universities for the sustainability of environment.
Ø To create the platform for youth for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

INAUGURAL SESSION

Hon. Former minister Er. Ganesh Shah, the chief guest of the program and Associate prof. Dr. Kedar Rijal chaired the first session. Ms. Swasti Shrestha, member of Global Green Mission heartily welcomed all the presenters, researchers, journalist and participants in the session and opened the floor for further program.


TECHNICAL SESSION 1: PROGRAMS OF UNFCCC
Associate prof. Dr. Kedar Rijal chaired the first session.

1. Over View of COP-1 to COP-16 by Prof. Dr. Suresh Das Shrestha,CCC member
The progressive state of COP has been highlighted by the professor. Among all the COPs, 3rd COP was very effective as it has set some ideas to tackle the issue of climate change and similarly 15th COP held in Copenhagen was effective in the sense of media coverage.

2. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by Nashib Kafle, AEPC
Nashib Kafle, the program officer of Clean Development Mechanism, AEPC focused on the Clean Development Mechanism which will reduce the global emission of GHGs. Nepal has set up biogas in different areas providing subsidy to the people. Nepal can be benefited in different sector as transportation, forest, waste management and bio-fuels but few programs are being lunched which has less efficiency of output in the national level.

3. REDD/REDD+ by Resham Bhahadur Dangi, DOF
Department of Forest (DOF), Deputy Director General, Resham Bahadur Dangi has highlighted the potentiality of carbon credits in Nepal. He showed that carbon credit is available in the following conditions.
Ø Reducing the conversion of forests to non-forest land-use (Deforestation).
Ø Reducing the gradual loss of biomass due to activities under the canopy (Degradation of Forests).
Ø Conservation (continued good stewardship of forests)
Ø SMF- Reduced emissions from low impact harvesting activities;
Ø Carbon removal enhancement (carbon sequestration through A/R and forest
restoration)

Developing countries will get the support only if they develop REDD strategy/ Action plan, Forest Reference Emission Level, Monitoring Reporting and Verification System, and Social Environmental Safeguards. The developing country will get the financial support but the process in not clearly defined. In first and second phase, Developing country can get benefit by making national strategies and demonstration under bilateral talks but in third phase the amount of carbon in data base is to be shown and there is no standard process designed up to now. Thus, it is a complicated process.

With these presentations, the first session was concluded by Associate prof. Dr. Kedar Rijal. He summarized the programs of UNFCC and was hopeful that developing country like Nepal can be benefited from their activities. “The presentations show that we can utilize their program and can be benefited” he hopefully concluded the session.

TECHNICAL SESSION 2: ACTIVITIES TOWARDS ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION
Dr. Suresh Das Shrestha chaired the second session.

1. Climate Finance in UNFCCC board to local level by Raju Pandit, CEB
Raju Pandit Chhetri from Clean Energy Bank highlighted that Nepal was ranked in 4th position in the vulnerable country in the world. Nepal has prepared NAPA, LAPA to obtain financial support form the carbon credits. Climate finance is fragmented and unpredictable. Thus, Structures are being put in place. Policy and planning progress are made. Developing country like Nepal should develop Resources and capacity. One example can be NAPA that recognizes the need to deliver resources to the local level and LAPA presents a possible model but there are bottlenecks to overcome. Thus, we need to create appropriate mechanisms to channel the existing funds to reach the rural communities and the most affected communities.

2. Media and Youth Role in UNFCCC by Ramesh Bhusal, THT
Ramesh Bhusal, Environmental Reporter, Journalist of The Himalayan Times focused on the Media’s significant role to establish Climate change as the major issue. Environmental news is getting more priority in the later days only after the environmental degradation started gaining momentum. Youths were seen successful in organizing various kinds of activities. But most of those were like media stunt. They were urging others to change their behavior but they were not different. Youths are more NGO centric rather than talking independently raising the concern of next generation. These are the problems of youth and the media in Nepal. Thus, we youth need to generate more reliable data related to climate change and should generate alternative along with awareness. This will ultimately make us independent to tackle our problem.

3. National Adaptation plan of Action (NAPA) in Nepal by Dr. Dipak Rijal, NAPA
Dr. Rijal, Coordinator, Agriculture and food security, NAPA highlighted that NAPA should be simple and action oriented and easily applicable. The main objectives of the Napa are poverty reduction, improvement of livelihoods, and building resilience. Nepal can obtain huge amount of money if the programs are made scientifically. The process is complicated but the processes are to be made easy. Every people of Nepal should be hopeful about the climate finance. Nepal has obtained progress in NAPA and may obtain more benefit from LAPA. The Program mainly focus on Climate adaptation, disaster and risk reduction, Low carbon development and climate resilience, Access to financial resources and utilization, Capacity building, people's participation and empowerment, Study and research, Technology development, transfer and utilization, Climate-friendly NRM. Thus, every people can be benefited from these programs that are included in NAPA and LAPA.
Dr. Shrestha concluded the session being hopeful of the programs of NAPA and LAPA. He suggested the active participation of researchers, students and journalists on program to provide the concrete action oriented ideas for the successful of LAPA.

Technical Session 3: Field observation of climate change impact

The session was chaired by Dr. Dinesh Raj Bhuju, Faculty Chief Science, NAST.

1. High altitude plant response in Manslu Conservation Area by Madan k. Suwal and Narayan P. Gaire
Mr. Suwal and Mr. Gaire, researcher from NAST highlighted the field experience on the climate change research. The study was carried out in tree line ecotone of MCA. Seedlings are recruiting and establishing above their previous altitudinal limits showing that warming has created favourable environment. There was decreasing trend of seedling density with elevation.

Dr. Bhuju highlighted on the research oriented work of NAST. Nepal can be developed as the lab of climate change related research. Young Scientist can do many researches in Nepal. He concluded the third session by sharing his experience in different field oriented research.

REMARKS
Honourable former Minister Er. Ganesh Shah appreciated the program as it is an assembly of young scientist that can lead the future nation and told that, the educated scientist; researchers like the participants may make the environment safe for them. Young scientist from developing countries can lead on the adaptation and mitigation programs.

Sudeep Acharya, President of SESS concluded the program and thanked the participants, researchers, presenters and donors and supporters for the success of the program. The program was coordinated by Rajan Subedi, president of Global Green Mission and hosted by Sushil Kumar karki, the program officer of Youth Alliance for Environment.

CONCLUSION
This symposium provided the details of the UNFCCC and Nepalese scenario. Thus, this program provided the information regarding the progress of Nepal in climate change sector for its mitigation. The loopholes can be minimized and the researchers can have the study on different areas of climate change in Nepal as detail study is still lacking in the area of Climate change.

 

A Workshop on “Issues of Deforestation and Sand and Mining in Terai and Mid hills of Nepal” on the occasion of “WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, 2011”
Date: June 7, 2011
Venue: Grand Hotel, Tahachal

BACKGROUND
It is estimated that deforestation and forest degradation account for around 20 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions-one of the major culprit of global warming. Keeping this in mind, United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the “International Year of Forests” to raise awareness on sustainable development, conservation and management of forests. It also aims to draw the attention of international community’s about the causes and consequences of huge continued loss of forest. Government of Nepal has declared the year 2011 as Tree Holiday for ample achievement in the forest conservation.
Terai region, the southern lowlands of Nepal, has been identified as the region with the high economic potential for the forest sector in Nepal, as the region possesses forests of high economic value. The efficient management of the Terai natural forests can improve the livelihood of the people living in this area by boosting up the local economy. Another major problem in the Terai landscape is the huge extraction rate of river sediments that are brought about by the rivers flowing through it. These sediments are illegally extracted and traded as construction materials to the neighboring countries. The sediment extraction poses great risks to flood protection. The unregulated mining of sand, gravel and rocks, if not controlled, can cause significant damage to the river and its associated biota, and to the adjacent land, as well as creating conflict with other users of the river.
Hence the government’s single effort is not sufficient and need support from different sectors’ of society. Indeed, an alliance is more felt in the country like Nepal to pressurize the government themselves for adequate policy formation and proper implementation of the existing policies. Realizing this, Youth Network for Social and Environmental Development (YONSED), Youth Alliance for Environment (YAE), Central Department of Environmental Science, TU, GGM, AEPC, HIMCAA, Adapt Nepal and CCC is conducting national workshop on “Issues of Deforestation and Sand & Stone mining in Terai and Mid hills of Nepal” re-marking “World Environmental Day-2011” with the theme “Forests: Nature at your service” , on June 7, 2011. The workshop aims to find out the way forwards for the conservation of forest and rivers of Nepal.

OBJECTIVES
1. To disseminate information on the current issues of deforestation and illegal mining of sand and stone from the river of Terai and mid hills and the possible hazards, it can bring about.
2. To raise voice against over exploitation of natural resources and create pressure on the concern stakeholders to address the issues of illegal trade of forest products and huge extraction/mining of sand and stone from the rivers of Terai and mid hills in concrete plans and policies.
3. To create common platform for youth for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

PARTICIPANTS OF THE PROGRAM
A total of 54 participants representing from GOs, NGOs/INGOs, Media and different colleges participated in the program.

INAUGRAL SESSION
The program warmed up with the chairing of Mr. Sunil Kumar Manandhar, Hon. Minister of Environment. Mr. Manandhar informed about banning of use of plastic bags of less than 20 microns in Singha Durbar area to celebrate World Environment Day, 2011 which will slowly be brought into action in the whole country within few months. Proceeding towards agenda of workshop, he acknowledged youth for providing platform where such critical issues of deforestation and sand and stone mining could be highlighted. He informed about the establishment of a high-level technical committee to investigate the issues of deforestation and illegal extraction of natural resources in the country and also informed that a g ood amount of funding for this committee has also been separated. Government also believed that this matter should be taken seriously and any irresponsibility will not be tolerated. He concluded by saying that this topic should not just end with discussion in an enclosed room and should be continued.

Ms. Shanta Chaudhary, President of National Resource and Means Committee, thanked the organizers for taking such an important issue. She stressed that government had failed in the enforcement of law. The illegal use of natural resources has hampered the environment and rivers of the country. There is a rule that EIA and IEE should be conducted before starting any mining process but the extractors have not been working under the rule of law. For them this is one of the fastest and easiest way to earn money. Government has constantly been failing because of the involvement of few irresponsible political members who are making the work of Government difficult in controlling such misuse. Also this committee is not being able to look after all these areas. She also shared an example of Indrawati where all the fertile land has been eroded and even the over bridge on the river has come at the point of demolition because of these mining processes. Therefore Government should make few things compulsory in the policy that EIA and IEE should be compulsory and these mining sites should be 20 meters away from the road.

Mr. Ganesh Shah, Former Minister of Environment said that change is very important and change will come if youth get engaged in such national issues. He said that everyone has to work collectively and should maintain solidarity to solve any issues. Forest, Sand and stones, everything is an integral part of the nature and should be conserved. In this age of knowledge and technology, these resources should be used very carefully. He stressed that Environment minister should be given agenda to cope with such critical problem. He suggested that Ecosystem and biodiversity should be studied in depth and concerned authorities should also be aware of every aspect of the forest and other natural resources. He concluded with the need of proper conservation and sustainable utilization of the natural resources.

TECHNICAL SESSION

Presentation Presenter
Presentation -1 Dr. Arun Rijal,Climate Change Council Members
Presentation-2 Mr. Prabhu Budhathoki, Former Country Representative , IUCN

SPEECH
Mr. Vijaya P. Singh, Assistant Country Director, UNDP Nepal, said that the country is under the phase of political transition and this phase is very important to seek opportunity. He highlighted that Terai and silwalik, the bread basket of the country, are going through over exploitation of the natural resources. Ecosystem and economy are interconnected and interdependent and it is not a conflict or peace building news. If ecosystem is collapsed then all the human being in the society will be affected, hence we should work out for protecting our environment. He shared an example of sandal wood being exported to china benefitting very few people involved in it. Just like sandal wood, sand, gravel and stones are also being illegally extracted and traded to India with support of the strong networks of the political parties. He also showed concern and warned that, if at this rate, natural resources will be used then within 20- 50 yrs ecological system will be totally collapsed. He concluded by saying that youth are the future of country and they should work in conservation of natural resources to build a better tomorrow and secure their future.

Mr. Gopal Raj Sherchan, National Coordinator, UNDP/GEF/SGP shared the fact that most of the illegally extracted sand and stone is being exported to Bihar, India mainly for the construction of roads. Similarly, forests have been constantly degrading. About 80% of the Nepalese population is dependent on the forests land, of which 15% of the forests land is already finished and if Government fails to take any action against it then Nepal will be left with no natural resources at all. Therefore, deforestation and sand and stone mining is one of the most discussed topics. Government should take immediate action to stop this and should adopt control measures to solve this problem.

Mr. Ramesh Silwal, GGIC said that everything is being used as a commodity and is being capitalized. Even mother earth has been used for this purpose of the capitalists. Natural resources are being over exploited for the personal benefit. Hence, Government should bring about changes in the policy and implement certain rules and regulations regarding the smuggling and illegal works which have only been benefitting the capitalist class. He also said that students have a lot of potential and therefore should be engaged in different awareness campaign to address such delicate and sensitive matters.

CLOSING SESSION

Mr. Vinay Bhatta, Free Students Union, Tri- Chandra Campus said that politician with polluted mind pollutes the environment but when responsible youth joins politics, environment will get a chance to become pollution free. Environment doesn’t seek groups or political parties or youth or else and decide to make one polluted and other fresh. It will affect the whole society. Hence, it’s very important to sensitize the policy makers for the protection of environment and also awareness among the youth is really important. At the same time, smugglers should be punished under the code of law. He concluded by saying that students should also be involved into solving these issues.

OUTPUT

i. Common platform is created for concerned stakeholders as well as youth for sharing their knowledge and experiences regarding the issues of deforestation and sand and stone mining. Participants sensitized about the problems of deforestation and illegal sand & stone mining in the rivers of Terai and its possible hazards.

ii. Concerned authorities motivated to reflect the issues of illegal sand and stone mining and deforestation in Terai.